After suffering from the flu prior to the Tour of California, Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre made it through a wet and cold first half of the Tour of California. He crashed in stage one, but was not injured and soldiered on to race again in the sunnier, warmer conditions of stages four and five. Despite tough conditions, Sastre kept a positive outlook.
"The Tour [of California] has been very hard and fast from the start. Although I'm not feeling that great, I am thinking of the future and attempting to use this race as preparation. It's true that I'm suffering a lot, and I'd have preferred to come into this race under other conditions."
"Success motivates us, and I know this suffering is helping to improve my form," said Sastre. "In stage four, we found the sun again. It felt good and everyone appreciated it after three days of racing in the rain."
Sastre may have been referring to the success of his teammate Thor Hushovd, who sprinted to victory in stage three. Teammate Serge Pauwels also spent most of stage four off the front toiling in a breakaway. On Wednesday, Heinrich Haussler secured his first victory of 2009, racing for the team at the Vuelta a Algarve's opening stage in Portugal.
"What is positive for me is seeing how my teammates work together and how they struggle in different races all over the globe. Although we are a new team, we are getting victories that motivate us to do better. This is keeping me focused on achieving my goals." Sastre intends to defend his Tour de France title in July.